Welle.io is a Windows/Linux/MacOS/Android/Raspberry Pi compatible DAB and DAB+ broadcast radio decoder which supports RTL-SDR dongles, as well as the Airspy and any dongle supported by SoapySDR. It is a touch screen friendly piece of software which is excellent for use on tablets, phones and perhaps on vehicle radio touch screens.
DAB stands for Digital Audio Broadcast and is a digital signal that is available in many countries outside of the USA. The signal contains digital broadcast radio stations, and is an alternative/replacement for standard broadcast FM.
Early last year we posted about Welle.io a couple of times, but now the software has reached maturity as version 1.0 has just been released. Author Albrech writes to us:
We fixed a lot of bugs again and added the translation to Hungarian, Norwegian, Italian and French.
Binary packages are available for Windows, Linux and Android (APK and Play store). The macOS support is possible via Homebrew and we now that welle.io runs also on a Rapsberry Pi 2 and newer.
Frequent reviewer of SDR products Mile Kokotov has just uploaded on his YouTube channel a new video where he compares the Airspy HF+ against the SDRplay RSP1A on FM broadcast reception.
At first Mile compares the two against strong broadcast stations, and then later compares them on weak DX stations surrounded in amongst other strong stations. With the strong stations a difference between the two radios is impossible to detect. But with the weaker stations that are surrounded by strong signals the Airspy HF+ has the edge with it's higher dynamic range and sensitivity.
In this video I am comparing two popular SDR-Receivers (Airspy HF+ and SDRplay RSP1A) on FM Broadcast Band.
I have made few recordings with every receiver with the same antenna trying to set the best SNR = signal-to-noise ratio.
My intention was to ensure the same conditions for both SDR`s in order to make as fair as possible comparison.
No DSP enhancing on the SDR`s was used.
Antenna was Vertical Dipole.
When receiving signals are strong enough, You should not expect the difference between most receivers to be very obvious!
If you compare one average transceiver (which cost about $ 1000 USD) and top class transceiver which cost ten times more, the difference in receiving average signals will be very small too. Almost negligible! But when you have difficult conditions, the very weak signal between many strong signals, than the better receiver will receive the weak signal readable enough, but cheaper receiver will not. Today it is not a problem to design and produce the sensitive receiver, but it is far more difficult to design and produce high dynamic receiver for reasonable price! The Airspy HF+ and RSP1A are very very good SDR-receivers. They have different customers target and have strong and weak sides. For examle Airspy HF+ has better dynamics in frequency range where it is designed for, but RSP1A, on the other hand, has broadband coverage...
If you are in the USA, you might recognize HD Radio (aka NRSC-5) signals as the rectangular looking bars on the frequency spectrum that surround common broadcast FM radio signals. These signals only exist in the USA and they carry digital audio data which can be received by special HD Radio receivers. Earlier in the year in June a breakthrough in HD Radio decoding for SDRs like the RTL-SDR was achieved by Theori when he was able to piece together a full HD Radio software audio decoder that works in real time.
It turns out that some of these HD Radio signals run by iHeartRadio also contain other data streams such as live weather and traffic data that is consumed by HD Radio based car GPS receivers or audio head units in US vehicles. HDRadio.com also write that they can embed other data such as sports scores and emergency messages into the data stream as well.
KYDronePilot's Python script utilizes Theori's decoder to save all received weather and traffic data maps for a folder. Below is an example of traffic and weather data that he received.
SourceForge user randaller has recently released a potentially useful Python program called FM2TXT. The FM2TXT program uses the Google speech recognition libraries and an RTL-SDR to listen to any broadcast FM station and automatically transcribe the speech into text. The code seems to be basically an interface for the Google speech recognition API, so is nothing fancy, but still may be of interest to some. Also at the moment it seems like it only works with broadcast FM (WFM), but as the code is open source and consists of a simple single Python file it shouldn't be too hard to adapt it for other NFM signals too.
Over on the SWLing Post blog we’ve seen news of this new SDR based car radio called the Gospell GR-227. Gospell is a Chinese manufacturer of various broadcast consumer radio products including DRM receivers. It is intended to be an adapter for your car that lets you listen to digital broadcast stations such as DAB/DAB+ on VHF and DRM on UHF, but it can also be used for standard AM and FM reception. From the product sheet it looks like it will simply plug into you car USB port, and output audio through that port into your cars head unit. Control of the unit is through an Android app.
There doesn’t seem to be anything stopping someone from using this outside of a car though, so perhaps depending on the price and software hackability available it might make a good PC or Raspberry Pi based HF receiver for all modulation types too.
Over on the Gospell Facebook page are images showing the Gospell running at IBC 2017 and next to other upcoming SDR based digital broadcast receivers like the Titus II.
No word yet on a release date or pricing. The press release reads:
Chengdu, China, September 04, 2017 – A new adaptor specifically designed for in-car use that simplifies digital radio on the road will be introduced at IBC by Gospell.
GR-227 is a small, low-cost adaptor that acts as an aftermarket add-on to car stereos receiving high-quality digital broadcast programs and data application, and serving it to the car audio system over a USB cable. Based on software defined radio technology, GR-227 is compatible with DAB, DAB+, DRM and is DRM+ ready. It is also powerful enough to support digital audio decoding such as extended HE-AAC (xHE-AAC).
GR-227 literally works with any kind of car stereos with a USB port. Our patent pending technology allows the adaptor to behave like a thumb drive when plug into a USB port and makes it compatible with most of the music players not only in car but also for home use.
To make the most of GR-227, the Gospell Smart Tune App for Android has been included to add more features. When partnered with an Android powered car stereo, the App not only allows for playback of the broadcast audio program but data application which brings much fun to car entertainment.
By connecting the supplied triple band active antenna which can be attached to the windscreen through the SMA antenna connector, the reception in DRM, FM and DAB bands can be significantly improved, offering maximum flexibility between different broadcasting standards.
Installing the plug-and-play GR-227 adaptor to your car is easy and doesn’t require changing your car stereo. It is one of the easiest ways to upgrade your car radio to digital without replacing anything.
The Gospell’s aftermarket car adaptor range starts with USB model but more will follow to support more car stereo types.
Haochun Liu, DRM director, Gospell, said: “By leveraging SDR, we can now combine multiple broadcasting standards together to offer flexibility and cost advantages, coupled with easy installation without the necessity of buying a new car stereo as in traditional solutions.”
For additional information, please visit www.goscas.com or contact Gospell sales at [email protected]
Founded in 1993, Gospell Digital Technology Co Ltd (GOSPELL). is a private hi-tech enterprise with R&D, manufacturing, business consultancy and planning, trade, delivery, project implementation and after sales service, acting as a complete DTV and triple-play solution provider for Digital TV/OTT related projects. Headquartered in GOSPELL INDUSTRIAL PARK at Chenzhou, Hunan Province for CPE related production manufacturing, GOSPELL also has its office in Shenzhen for business/marketing management and administration, in Chengdu for R&D and headend/transmitter system production/debugging and Customer Service Center, and in 12 cities in China as well as international offices in India, Africa and Mexico.
Since September 2016 we’ve been slowly hearing news about the PantronX Titus II portable SDR system, but as of yet nothing seems to have eventuated. The Titus II is essentially an Android touch screen tablet running their custom software, a set of speakers, an antenna and an SDR chip with 100 kHz to 2 GHz tuning range all in one portable system that has been estimated by them to retail for less than $100 USD. The main goal with the system is to provide low cost receivers for digital broadcast standards like DRM, DAB and DAB+ to try and boost their popularity.
Titus II receiver features include:
DRM in the AM bands (MW, SW, LW) and VHF bands (FM-band, VHF band-I, VHF band-III) with latest xHE-AAC audio codec.
DAB Classic/DAB+ (VHF band-III).
FM stereo with RDS (Service Signaling).
AM with AMSS (AM Signaling Service).
Integrated service list management and service selection.
DRM/DAB Data Apps: Text Messages, Dynamic Label/DL+, Journaline, (Categorized) Slideshow, EPG, Transparent File Transmission (e.g., for educational services), etc.
Remote Radio Hotspot: Built-in WiFi hotspot feature, which allows any mobile device with an HTML5 web browser to connect to the Titus II via Wi-Fi, select radio services, listening to aud (HTML5 audio streaming) and accessing all the DRM/DAB data apps.
Recording feature and Archiving interface to select existing recordings for playback.
Titus SDR, a division of PantronX, says the Titus II multi-standard digital radio receiver is ready for production.
The consumer software-defined radio digital receiver platform, which is the result of collaboration between Titus SDR/Patron X, Jasmin-Infotech, TWR, and Fraunhofer IIS, supports multi-standard radio reception, including DRM, DAB and DAB+ and core data applications. The system is based on a custom Android tablet platform, featuring multipoint touch, WiFi/Bluetooth and stereo sound.
Titus II units will be available as a stand-alone product from Titus SDR as well as from selected OEMs. Titus SDR explains that as a module, Titus II can serve as a full-featured basis for third-party product development, adding that PantronX provided the platform and RF expertise, while Fraunhofer IIS enabled the digital and analog radio features.
With latest xHE-AAC audio codec, Titus II supports DRM in the AM and VHF bands; DAB/DAB+; FM stereo with RDS; AM with AMSS; integrated service list management and service selection; DRM/DAB data apps; text messages and Journaline.
No news yet on exact release dates, but if you are interested you can sign up to their pre-order notification list at titusradio.com.
From YouTube we’ve also found a short video of them demonstrating the Titus II from DBS2017 back in March. Another video showing the interface up close can be seen here.
Device Frontend: Manual Center Freq. Correction in kHz
Raw Recording: Playback Control, for a timed positioning (“seek”) in “arbitrary” large (GBytes) recorded raw files.
Legacy DAB, intended for users where DAB+ is not generally available, like in the UK or Spain. As this could only be superficially tested here in Germany (no standard DAB any more, I used some raw samples recorded in Madrid), I would be very interested in feedback of users about it.
Synchronization of raw files recorded with central frequency offset
Enhanced manual synchronization control, mainly for tests in mobile environments
Detection of the Transmitter Identifications (TII). However, as this is a feature only useful for specialized applications, it is not included in the distribution. To my knowledge, qirx is the only DAB SDR having this feature.
Some Bug fixing.
The QIRX team have also added a new Quickstart Guide to help users get set up with their software quickly. In addition QIRX author Clem also writes that the QIRX software will be demonstrated during this weekends Ham-Radio fair in Friedrichshafen, Germany.
Aerial TV is an Android app that allows you to watch DVB-T TV with an RTL-SDR on a mobile device. We posted about Aerial TV back in April and it was available on the Google Play store back then. Unfortunately Aerial TV has recently been banned from the Google Play store as apparently the app can be used to display copyrighted material from TV. The author writes the following on a Facebook post:
Google Play has suspended Aerial TV due to “[Aerial TV] claims to provide copyrighted contents from TV channels”. According to Google apps that display live TV are of “questionable nature”. I am trying to clarify what they mean. I would like to apologize to all affected users. If you have any concerns, feel free to get in touch with Google directly.
This is quite odd and probably a mistake. But if you are looking for Aerial TV it is now available on the Amazon app store with a current 35% discount. If you bought the app on the Google Play store then to get new updates you will need to uninstall it, contact the developer for a refund, and then purchase it again on the Amazon store. More info about that is available on the Facebook page. Updates about it’s availability will always be provided on the official website at aerialtv.eu.